In a previous post we profiled Swiss mobile privacy company Silent Circle, manufacturer of the Blackphone (pictured above). A central feature of the Blackphone is the Secure Spaces privacy software designed by Canadian firm Graphite Software. This week Startup Hook had the pleasure of discussing the Secure Spaces offering with Graphite Software’s CEO, Alec Main.
“The company was founded in 2012, but really kicked off operations in 2013 after securing funding from Celtic House“ (a Canadian VC firm that provided $4.4 million in Series A funding), says Main. “We have an experienced startup management team that worked together previously at Cloakware”. Cloakware was a content security business that was acquired by Dutch firm Irdeto in late 2007 for US$72.5 million.
Graphite’s partnership with Silent Circle gained attention when the Blackphone was launched in 2014. At the 2015 World Mobile Congress held in Barcelona last month, Graphite announced the launch of a cloud management service for Secure Spaces.
As Main tells it, “the business was based on the initial premise that devices, smartphones had become very converged. We were looking for a simple way to enable users to bucket apps and their life on their mobile devices”. The observation was made that the standard permission model for apps doesn’t work very well. Users often don’t read them. Or, when they do read them and decide not to accept the default access requirements, they then discover that the platform or website has already accessed their personal details. According to Main, Secure Spaces can help overcome this issue “by allowing users to effectively have multiple devices on a single device”.
How Does It Do This?
Secure Spaces enables users to separate their work and personal activities into segregated virtual compartments on their mobile device. These compartments can be set up with their own unique pass codes. Spaces can be tailored to suit the individual needs of the user, either directly on the device itself, or by downloading a space from the cloud via Secure Spaces Cloud Management Service.
The ability to demarcate is viewed as increasingly important to businesses and individuals alike. For instance, in a mobile world it is vital that issues surrounding BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) be addressed by both companies and employees. By utilising the Secure Spaces offering, businesses can secure company data and work related apps, whilst at the same time preserving the privacy of the employee.
However, BYOD and the need to secure company data that is accessed and transmitted via a personal mobile device is not the only use for Secure Spaces. Other important applications for the technology include:
Kids Space: Parents can use Secure Spaces to provide a curated app environment for their children to use a mobile device safely. Here the technology acts as a filter, protecting the child from inappropriate content. Main: “Kids Space allows the curated environment to be age and gender specific and can also be tailored to specify whether or not the device is call enabled or if location tracking is on/off”.
Specific: Marketers and brand managers can use Secure Spaces to create spaces that are business or industry specific. Main states that in China, for example, increases in the use of mobile banking services has generated a lot of interest in how best to secure this data. Both banks and their customers have an interest in fraud prevention. Secure Spaces provides an additional level of security by preventing apps and data from one Space being accessed by apps in another Space.
Graphite Software has already successfully integrated and launched their Secure Spaces tech with Silent Circle’s Blackphone. When commenting about the company’s growth plans Main says, “we are now integrated with three more manufacturers. Those launches are pending. It is our goal to have Secure Spaces active on 10 million devices by the end of this year”. That is a significant growth trajectory when you consider that the figure as at 1 January this year was zero.
With literally billions of mobile devices currently in use world wide and an increasing desire on the part of users to ensure privacy and security, Graphite Software appears to have a very long growth runway ahead.